tv [untitled] November 25, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
mission sro collaborative, senior action collaborative, we went out and we interviewed over 150 sro tenants who live in chinatown, mission, central city area, seniors, people with disabilities. we had a wide range of questions. it is focused on being a needs assessment. to see what sort of needs the population was facing so we could identify recommendations slowly work to implement those recommendations. we have a couple of other people who will speak about those things today. i will turn it over to jessica at this point to talk a little bit more about what the results of the report were and some of the recommendations that came out of that report.
>> thank you. thanks so much to the council for having us here and thank you to joanna fraguli for coordinating this. it is exciting work. it is wonderful to get into it and we see a lot of potential for making positive changes. i will pick up where josh left us, talk about the survey and the results, and go through the series of recommendations leading to one civic recommendation that is now in legislation. the top concerns found in the survey were widespread, sadly. there were all kinds of problems.. people talk about a lot of different things. top concerns included personal safety, on a lot of levels. visitors were getting into the building when they shouldn't
be, having interpersonal problems with other tenants, all kinds of other safety harassment issues. these are not in order. bedbugs and other infestations including roaches, rats, mice, an ongoing problem. bedbugs are being dealt with separately; a problem for from being solved. a problem we hear from sro tenants all the time. noise is another problem. cleanliness. physical maintenance. when i started doing housing work in san francisco a few months ago, somebody took me on a tour. i saw things lose, exposed
wires, egregious maintenance problems. one specific the disability is a lack of maintenance to the elevators. in buildings with elevators, not all of them, they break down all the time. they don't get fixed regularly. some of them are old and are difficult to fix. housing conditions. health and safety conditions. violations of the visitor policy. harassment. from there i'm going to jump to the recommendations. i will explain what was found in the survey. that is where the recommendations came from. those of us at senior and disability action and the sro
collaborative, if safety the major issue, what are some of the things that can be done in the short term and long term? looking at the problems coming up with a series of recommendations. enforcement. a lot of this is about the contract. a lot of sro rooms are subsidized the city tax dollars. i know you heard over the last couple of months from the department of public health, healthy human agencies, and nonprofits that work with those that place people in sros. we want to look at the contracts. anytime city tax dollars are used to place a senior or a person with a disability into an sro room, that there are safeguards. the property manager, landlord of that building is required to say that yes, in return for
getting tax dollars, i will make sure that there are no bedbugs and things are maintained properly. that things are safe. all the basics that we all expect. we are thinking of getting them into the contract is one way to do that. that is something we are working on. we welcome other ideas and assistance on that. having bph and sha in the last couple of months is a good opportunity to connect with them. and the thing about how we can do that in the contract. we are also looking at the enforcement structure, department of building inspection and the department of health. the policies and procedures when they get a call from tenant, or landlord saying there are roaches, for the elevator is broken and is not being prepared. the policy about coming out and what do they do to make sure the problem gets fixed. we are starting the process of
working with those departments to make sure that the process is as efficient and responsive and timely as possible so that those things get fixed right away and making sure that seniors and people with disabilities are safe. and of those problems can come back right away. the fixes should be real and permanent. that was one of the recommendations. looking at the executive summary which is but has, a chart with recommendations that you can refer to as well. we had a bunch of new policies. i will come back to the first graph, legislation we are excited about. the next couple, having desk clerks at each sro. some already have them, 24-hrs., that let people in. we put this in the recommendations for safety,
having someone they are who is monitoring and enforcing the uniform deserve policy to make sure people are allowed when they should be. and to let workers in. but to make sure that there are no other people to come in to sell drugs for example. we ran into complications about whether that is feasible. along with desk clerks, to put training curriculum for all sro staff. we want to make sure everybody is trained; someone knows about communication, and problem-solving so that when the issues come up the staff is well trained to address them. another recommendation was physical accessibility the
maintenance of elevators or placing residents on the lower floors. someone with a disability or senior moves into an sro, they are not required to live on the ground floor but that is an option to make sure people are safe. oh sure, there is a room on the fourth floor but there is no elevator were people goes out and people are trapped. access to nutritious food. josh talked about how most rooms - no rooms have kitchens. some sros have a kitchen somewhere in the building or on the floor. there's a lot of problems with that. listen less than half of sro residents have access
to kitchens. with 18% of respondents, 1 in 5 people say that they skip meals due to lack of resources or facilities. accommodation problems. they don't have money to buy food and no place to prepare affordable meals. we would like to see some work there. would also want more targeted outreach to seniors and adults with people with disabilities. there are other sros available that they will know about. also access the supporting services. and increase disaster planning for seniors and adults with disabilities. we had a set of long-term goals, but i won't go into much detail. here is what we think that we
need something to make sure that seniors and people with disabilities and sros have what they need but are less clear on how to implement. those include the ability to form a tenant council, not attended by management so that people can speak freely. affordable housing for seniors and adults with disabilities, proposition c is a step in the direction. on-site staff that includes maintenance and janitorial the people are not waiting and trying to figure out who to talk to. individual locking mailboxes, so when someone gets a bill or a check they can get it safely. wellness check, or "i'm ok" door hangers. someone who want to
participate, if a neighbor does not see that this is someone they can check on. there was a lot of information. now i will go into more detail on the legislation that we are proposing. in the recommendations, we suggested having grab bars in bathrooms. in the server we found that less than half of seniors and people with disabilities that we talked to reported having grab bars. not everyone is coming out and saying we need grab bars. people don't necessarily realize that is a problem until people fall. we know that is a major source of injury. in terms of the financial impact going back to the city to say look at the money we are spending on hospital bills on people who slip and falls when that can be prevented by
having grab bars in bathrooms. that is one thing we want to work on, and working phone jack along with affordable telephone service. working phone jacks are required by state law; a residential hotel, tourist hotel is required to have that. pretend that i did not say that. in sros, every room is required have a working phone jack. people are dealing with a lot of isolation. i mentioned people with disabilities who may be in the room where it is hard to get out. the staircase to be rickety. the elevator may be broken. there's a myriad of problems where people can be stranded in the room. phone jacks are one way that
people can connect with the outside world. even if they're not physically stranded, to be able to call a friend, to connect with the neighbors, to set up a doctors appointment, critical for seniors and people with disabilities. for everyone to have a working phone jack. they are not being enforced. there issues with the department of building enforcement. we have recently introduced into the board of supervisors legislation that requires working phone jacks and grab bars in sros. supervisor marr introduced legislation that about two three weeks ago. they were very excited about this happening moving forward, getting a lot of support an interest. we have a handful of
supervisors that have agreed to cosponsor. right now the bill is in the process of being amended in going through some committees with the department of building inspection. most likely around january, maybe february, it will go to the land use committee. what the bill says, in more detail, we mentioned that state code moves into city code as well. water closets, bathing facilities, another place incredibly important to keep people safe. we recognized early on that it is not easy to say for the grab bar in the bathroom.
some sros were built in 1911; you have tiny rooms, a window or door where the grab bar would go. or put it on the side and people don't have space to get out of the bathroom. the mayor's office on disability has agreed to prepare a technical assistance guide. he are some of the common structures for bathrooms, common designs, and here's what you should do about grab bars. also the department of building inspection. buildings would have to file for a permit before they install a grab bar to make sure it is done properly, going into the wall, making sure the reinforcements are there. the end result is we want people to be safe. i will turn it over to clifford
gilmore from the central city sro collaborative who will introduce of the tenant will talk about their experience living in sros. >> chair: does a working phone jack include data and voice line? make sure you include that in the legislation so it does not become an issue for a person with a disability. >> i'm glad you said that. i am embarrassed to say we have not talked about it. we will explore that right away. >> thank you. (off mic) >> my name is clifford gilmore. i and a community organizer
with the central city sro collaborative; we are the community organizing department for -- housing clinic. the focus is to have this ability and tenant rights issues; our mission is to keep people housed and to have quality housing as well. our coverage area is south of market, there are 250 sros in that area. we have drop-in services; people can come and talk about living conditions and seek remedies for some of those issues. part of what we also do is outreach in the community. it is a natural thing for us to be part of the survey. on the campaign on seniors and
people living with disabilities. i want to mention a couple of things quickly. we would like for you to consider going forward. many of the sros are not accessible. that is one thing. and buildings and floors that are accessible, the preference be provided to people who are seniors and people living with disabilities. it is an important issue for this population. and a needed will continue to evolve. secondly, people who come in after hours at issues. what we hear our complaint driven. that can be challenging for people who put in a complaint and want a quick resolution. we think it would be helpful to
have short time line for complaints when there are building or health code issues. particular for seniors. this issues that affect seniors and people with disabilities are pressing needs that need immediate remedy. it is helpful to consider around this population and how they will be able to continue to live here. and have quality of life. and being able to have that experience. with that i would like to bring forward a couple of our leaders from our leadership program. dan jordan and steven tennis (sounds like). >> hello, i'm dan jordan, a
peer counselor with the central city sro collaborative and i live in an sro hotel on 6th. this hotel like so many is a walk up. mine is a four floor building. i live on the top floor. there's a lady that uses a wheelchair and is virtually held prisoner in her home. she cannot get in and out of the hotel unless someone is willing to carry her wheelchair down the stairs and back up. there are many elderly people living in these hotels, aging, becoming disable with no way to get in and out. if they could find the hotel that is wheelchair accessible, most of the time they cannot afford it.
my own hotel now is $800 a month. when i moved in it was $525. in social security you are getting about $900 a month. they're not affordable. we need to do something about accessibility throughout the building. and again, mine is not accessible to the restroom for people with disabilities. and we don't have anything like that, bars or anything to hold on to in the showers. we have tile floors which are extremely slippery when sopay wet. people do fall and get hurt. i myself have fallen. i also wound up calling an ambulance. many residents who have fallen have broken hips, legs, arms.
something really needs to get done with this and this and this we can get it done the better off our seniors and disabled people are going to be. thank you. >> thank you >> good afternoon. my name is stephen tennis. you will have to excuse me . i am more than a little bit nervous now. i have been associated with sros for a little over 22 years. i volunteer at central city sro collaborative now and have the last three years. i live at the hotel on -- and have lived there for 9 years. i have been a tenant organizer for the last three years; recently i am the disaster preparedness organizer for central city. for the 22 odd years in sros,
one thing that has always bothered me is that people with disabilities and seniors are on every single floor of the hotels. (indiscernible) there are two wheelchair accessible rooms in the fifth floor. i know something can be done. it should be done. if there could be some type of legislation introduced that would require all sros, if you have a disability you are on the first floor. start from the first floor, working up. rather than indiscriminately. we know it is after is going to hit san francisco. we know that. what we don't know is when. the sooner we can get people
off the top floors and down a lot more lives will be saved. thank you very much. >> chair: thank you. does that conclude our presentation? >> thank you for letting me shed some light into the issues. i want to start the conversation through the chair as to how do you see the mdc joining your effort and helping out this issue? what would you like to see from us? >> (off mic)
>> i do know some of you know but, he's taking over housing advocacy and senior disability issues. you will get to know him. tony was reminding me about the technical assistance guidelines. that is one way to work with the council and the mayor's disability council, putting together the technical assistance guide, thinking of the different situations that come up. we are trying to get some photos of the department of building inspection answer some of the collaborative to have an idea what those differences are. anyone in the room can say i have seen the room like this and this, what if we find a room like this? there are various suggestions. is it jewels, right?
i should say chairperson. have we thought about -- and some of the accessibility things that we may not have thought through, we would appreciate feedback and ideas on that. as we move forward with legislation we would love specific support. we are reaching out to all the supervisors and trying to get sponsorship and support and different ways. if some of you have specific relationships with some of the supervisors, we can talk about who we don't yet have on the sponsorship list. those connections will be great. would plan to do a rally and press conference on the steps of city hall. who want to use as an opportunity to change the law
and raise awareness. we want to organize seniors and people with disabilities in sros to say we demand and deserve better. so that people can also say this is not what should be going on in our city. will like some of you to come out with us on that day, to the rally. maybe somebody representing the council should speak. testify before the land use committee that they. will be in touch with the mayor's office; presumably they will pass on to all of you when those things are happening. >> chair: jessica, i think the idea of including the mayor's disability council and the technical assistance guidelines is excellent. my colleagues are interested in that. before i -- have you been in contact with
chief inspector bosky at the department of building inspection? she may be able to offer support as well. >> we have been working closely with rosemary bosky (sounds like) since the beginning; she has been wonderful, helping us understand what is in the code, what should be in the code, making amendments to the legislation as well. >> thank you. >> thank you for your presentations. my head is swimming actually. i would like to say that what we are talking about here - most of my colleagues would agree - clean, affordable housing are human rights. in the city of san francisco we have resources to see to it that that is the fact. with that said, first i want to
talk a moment about bedbugs. i have a friend in an sro on jones -- he went through quite an ordeal to get management to respond; he call the department of public health. there were people in the building who were undocumented. others for whom images a second language and there were other cultural barriers to opening the door to someone who looks like an official for the government. there was a delay getting the exterminators in there, doing their job. i don't know if you are aware of this and is an effort is being made to educate the residents about the procedures necessary in order to eradicate the bugs.